DOD fighter roadmap of doom #military #cndpoli #auspol

In the coming months you may read a lot about the DOD’s aircraft procurement plan* that goes out to the year….2041. That alone should generate some laughter. Imagine the post WWI Army coming up with an aircraft procurement plan that went out to 1949, but there you are.

This plan by DOD is submitted with the fiscal year 2012 budget.

It makes a lot of wild assumptions. For instance, it assumes that the U.S. federal budget won’t get into any more trouble.

A particularly sad assumption is the following about the handful of late block USAF F-16s.

“Late block F-16s will be modernized with improved radars, avionics, and electronic countermeasures, and will remain in the inventory through the 2030s.”

The part dealing with the disastrous U.S. fighter roadmap misses a lot of key facts. For starters the DOD wants to base it on purchasing obsolete fighter aircraft. The plan points out 10 important fiscal years from 2012 to 2021. Considering the instability of the federal budget, these are the only years worth discussing.

The graphic I created below should label this DOD effort, Operation: DREAMLAND.


The flagship of course will be the F-35 Joint Strike Failure. Early Navy fighter numbers include Super Hornets. Assuming no more delays, the red in years column represents a time when the F-35 program will have performed development flight testing. It is also a time of when we can expect to see lots of mistake-jets produced because what is being built hasn’t been verified by real flight testing.

Of interest is the U.S. Air Force column. It is all F-35s. Again, assuming no more delays, the USAF will declare initial operating capability (IOC) in 2018. The red in the USAF column starting in 2018 represents learning curve that must be established by real USAF squadrons in the critical IOC years. Assuming no more surprises with the F-35, sometime around the early 2020’s is when an intelligent purchaser of military equipment should be able to evaluate the aircraft. This means that Canada for example will be several years too early with their purchase plan.

So if the F-35 becomes more expensive, what is DOD’s plan-B? Not really a plan so much as a death pact. Not mentioned in the DOD plan is that the department of groupthink has decided that the F-35 must survive at all costs. In order to do that, you can expect to see legacy aircraft retired by the hundreds to pay for the F-35. They will also find that the F-35 is more expensive to maintain and sustain including the fuel bills. More engineering changes for the Just So Flawed may have to be paid for as discovery from real operators appears.

The DOD aircraft procurement plan isn’t so much a plan as it is an exercise in stupidity. In the end there probably won’t be anywhere near enough money to fund this insanity. Not so much a plan as it is business as usual.

*=see Inside Defense (subscription)

My silly pick for Gate’s replacement beats the President’s silly pick. Here’s why #military

If the President is allowed to make a silly pick for Gate’s replacement (Panetta), I think I can too.

My pick has energy to do the job; has a good team; and by almost all the words of this video, understands the mission of Secretary of Defense. The words are on-message. As a bonus at the end of this video, my pick leads by example and tells you how he will cut costs on the road show.

Energy; the right words; a good team; and understands being frugal.

Panetta will be looking for places to sneak naps. My pick won’t.

Everybody; get in line…

More on Panetta as DOD boss #military

Assuming the noise we hear that Panetta is going to replace Gates is true. Here are a few thoughts of why I don’t like the idea.

1. He is too old. He will be 73 in June. You need someone with energy given all the activity and globe-trotting involved with the job.
2. It is difficult to believe that the Obama administration did a serious study on this topic. There is talent out there for this position. Even when you consider some of the people I am not the biggest fans of like Robert Work, they would be far more useful than Mr. Panetta. Again, the available talent pool has not been explored for such an important job.
3. Mr. Panetta is a lawyer. We need someone that is a strategic thinker and not a lawyer. Gates at least offered that much. Historically, when in doubt, lawyers always fall back on this skill even when it isn’t relevant to the leadership problem at hand.
4. Mr. Panetta is more politician than anything else. For the job of DOD boss, that is also a problem.

At least Mr. Panetta wore the uniform of the United States Army for a while. That is a thin complement but it might help.

Maybe he will surprise me.

Gates replaced by Panetta? #military

“Every dollar spent on excess overhead or unneeded programs — such as the extra engine for the [Joint Strike Fighter] — is a dollar not available to support our troops and prepare for threats on the horizon.”

Fixed it for you Mr. Gates.

But hey! New news. Word is Panetta will replace him.

From bad to worse.

Can DOD estimate software cost in a weapons system? #military

Interesting slides from a briefing in 2007. I wonder if DOD has figured out how to estimate software costs in a weapons system? Important because the F-35 has over 3 times the software as an F-22.

The first slide is just for reference of what briefing we are looking at.

This Dilbert comic was actually at the start of the briefing.

The killer. Truth at the time of how the DOD saw software costing in 2007.

The slow and inept DOD with obvious capital crimes #military

“He is a soldier, he is our soldier, and we have to take care of [him],” Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal told reporters.”

So says the Army official about Private Manning who committed espionage. It is an open and shut case, yet there are months to go.

There is another open and shut case out there which should have had a conviction a year ago. That being the Fort Hood mass murderer Major Hasan.

Imagine if we were at war or something. Oh wait we are. Any normal military would have put these guys in a convict’s grave long ago. Capital espionage and mass murder of troops with all the damning evidence in the world. Hate to see how long DOD would take if the guilt was questionable.